The Palmetto State and SC Appleseed got some attention in The Nation this week. Sadly, it came in the magazine’s “This Week in Poverty” department and for our state legislature’s campaign against the unemployed.
Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, notes that South Carolina—which last year reduced the maximum number of weeks for state benefits from twenty-six to twenty—is considering bills that would bar “steady, part-time workers” from receiving unemployment, particularly hurting women who are two-thirds of the part-time workforce in South Carolina as well as nationally. Another bill would make seasonal workers ineligible for benefits during the offseason. Three other bills were approved in subcommittee—drug testing for all applicants, mandatory unpaid community service (burdening workers with caregiving responsibilities and impeding the job search) and complete ineligibility for a worker terminated for even a minor infraction.
“The legislature is blaming the real victims of the recession, the unemployed, for our state budget problems and pursuing senseless cuts and barriers to receiving or keeping benefits,” says Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
Entmacher says the three bills “aren’t moving at the moment” but could be revived if restrictions like the ones being considered at the federal level are passed.
Please tell your state legislators to stand against this nonsense. Click here to find their contact info.
Also, while you’re at it, tell Congress to fully renew Unemployment Insurance for 2012 – no cuts, no barriers. We ain’t out of this recession yet.